Ron Smith

Winkles & Dillisk
January 28, 2016 Smith Ron

Winkles & Dillisk


Does he suspect the boys
who sell him the tin cans, the cable,
the planks and nails, that they steal the stuff back
at night then sell it again?
He can wheelbarrow a load of bricks
all the way to the village—

and back, if he makes no sale.
The old tar’s been twisting ropes
and rusty wire into varmints,
into devils, into penises and breasts
and something like pelvises, won’t look you in the eye
but sees you. You become a gargoyle

you can recognize, if you will. Never talks
about the son lost at sea
or the wife who died of lockjaw
in his ropy arms,
told me the one thing he can’t get
out of his head is standing on a road

somewhere between Longford and Sligo
watching the sun and the moon threaten each other
on their opposite horizons.
I, idiot, said,
“Silver apples of the moon, golden apples
of the sun.” He looked at me then,

out of all those scorched wrinkles.
A colder blue you’ve never felt.
And streaked, flecked, tainted.
“Come on down to the shore,” I said, “we
can have some winkles and dillisk.”
I was thinking of the cart run

by the saucy girl at the bottom
of the road, of her consoling eye.
“Shite,” he said, “festering sea-wrack!
How bout a whiskey?” “Bit early for me, ”
I said, but he was already moving,
going every which way in the joints
and disappearing fast.

Ron Smith’s book That Beauty in the Trees was published in 2023 by Louisiana State University Press. His The Humility of the Brutes, Its Ghostly Workshop, and Moon Road were also published by LSU. Smith’s poems have appeared in many periodicals, including The Nation, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Five Points, and Arts of War & Peace (Université Paris Diderot). He is currently Consultant in Poetry and Prose at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Virginia, and Poetry Editor for Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature. In recent years he has partnered with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to present poems associated with Man Ray’s Paris years and its “The Horse in Ancient Greek Art” exhibit. From 2014 to 2016 Smith was the Poet Laureate of Virginia.